2022 AL Wildcard race preview

Story posted September 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by James Morrison

As the MLB season winds down four teams remain in the wild-card race.

The Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles are all within six games of each other.

The Rays currently hold the top seed for the wild card race while they are also challenging the Yankees for the top AL position.

They have currently used multiple new pitchers throughout this year, and it has worked to perfection as Tampa Bay is once again one of the most consistent pitching teams.

They have also spent a lot of the year without star second baseman Brandon Lowe, who just recently returned from injury to beef up the lineup.

After a tough start to the season, the Seattle Mariners have slowly crept back into the wild card race back to the second seed while only being one game behind the Rays.

The Mariners recently gave Julio Rodriguez one of the biggest extensions in baseball history, and it has paid off so far, as he is one of the most exciting players on the team right now.

Off-season acquisitions Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker have come in and provided the spark the Mariners needed as they lead the team in home runs, RBI and on-base percentage.

They also replaced Yusei Kikuchi in the off-season with Robbie Ray, who has been their ace this year with twelve wins and 183 strikeouts on the season.

The bullpen is held up by a combination of Paul Seward, Andres Munoz, Diego Castillo and Erik Swanson who has a 1.02 ERA.

The Blue Jays are holding onto the last wild card spot after firing manager Charlie Montoyo earlier in the season.
Toronto has arguably underperformed this season, considering the offensive firepower that they boast.

The offense features the likes of Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Matt Chapman, George Springer, Santiago Espinal, Teoscar Hernandez and Alejandro Kirk.

That group combines for 159 home runs on the season.

On the pitching side, Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman have been their best starters by far, carrying a 2.42 and 3.12 ERA, respectively.

The bullpen has been mixed and matched all season long, but the one constant was Jordan Romano, with a commanding hold over the closer role.

The Orioles are currently on the outside looking in sitting 4.5 games back of Toronto in the standings.

Baltimore sold at the deadline by selling team leader Trey Mancini to the Astros and closer Jorge Lopez to the Twins.
Rookie catcher Adley Rutschmann has been the spark this team needed and has helped this team to find victories that were not there last year.

Ever since the left field wall was moved back the pitcher’s ERA has been down, and journeyman Jordan Lyles has been their best starter leading the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

Even after trading Lopez, the Orioles have relied on Felix Bautista to close games, and he has been able to do so consistently.

James Morrison is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jpm6920@psu.edu.